Intelligence Design - UK National Security in a Changing World

Foreign Affairs & Security
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Dr James D. Boys with foreword by Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP

Against the backdrop of concerns over Olympics security, a major report launched today, published by the Bow Group and produced by Dr. James D. Boys, the Bow Group's Research Fellow for Transatlantic Affairs and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College, London, finds that the UK’s national security framework, COBRA especially, is ill-constructed and inadequate for the UK’s security needs; attempts by the Coalition Government to change the status quo have not yet had the desired effect and further reforms are needed.

With a foreword by Rt. Hon. Dr. Liam Fox MPIntelligence Design: UK National Security in a Changing World examines the many developments that have occurred under the Coalition Government. It applauds efforts to reform a system that had previously relied on a chaotic, ad hoc approach, but recommends that further alterations be taken as a matter of urgency to ensure adherence to manifesto commitments and to maintain a rigorous national security capability.

The report addresses four key areas: 1. The new UK National Security Council; 2. The politicisation of COBRA; 3. The US-UK Joint Strategy Board; and 4. The National Security Strategy. 

The report recommends:

1.     The ad-hoc nature of COBRA, often wheeled out for political reasons, needs to be replaced with a new National Security Operations Centre, designed as a hub for operational command and control of missions and crisis management.

2.     The National Security Secretariat should be recalibrated to bring in recognised experts from the private sector.

3.     The Joint Strategy Board should be retained, strengthened and institutionalised.

4.     The approach taken by the National Security Secretariat towards the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy must improve dramatically.

5.     Joint Strategy Board meetings should be scheduled on a regular basis. Failure to meet will result in atrophy; regular meetings will promote unity and increase the flow of intelligence and communication. 

6.     The preparation of the National Security Strategy needs to be institutionalised and be seen as a priority for every future incoming Government.

For media enquiries please contact:

Dr. James D. Boys
Research Fellow for Transatlantic Affairs
The Bow Group
Mobile: +44 (0)7763 131020